Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dusting off the old soapbox...

There's a funny little pattern that we all seem to follow (at least in Utah's education system) from the time we start kindergarten to the time we graduate from college--the progression of student-teacher relationships.

In kindergarten, our teachers are only slightly below gods.  They know everything there is to know.  They have the power to read stories, conjure snacks from magical and unknown places, hunt down rogue gingerbread men, and praise our rudimentary artwork skills.  Our faces go beet red when we accidentally call them "Mom."  They are revered and idolized, and we remember them forever.

By the end of elementary school, our teachers have become wardens.  Sometimes they're friends.  Sometimes they're tyrants.  They hold our lives and our grades in their hands, but who really knows what that means?

Once we get to high school, teachers have become...people.  They no longer know everything--we can even catch their mistakes now and then--and we are either consciously or subconsciously encouraged to talk to them the same way we talk to our friends in the halls.  Some even allow us to call them by their first names.  Some of them even--dare I say it?--utter profanity in our presence.

"What's wrong with that?" you may ask.  "It makes our teachers seem more human and approachable.  It makes someone seem like he/she is one of us."

And herein lies our problem.  Let's think about the average profanity-spewing high school student.  Let's call him Bob.  Bob goes to school every day with a sullen expression, because his hormones are telling him to feel crappy.  He lives in Utah--the LDS capital of the world--and therefore must work must harder than others to prove his bad-ness to his parents, his friends, and any elderly people within earshot.  He knows these words are looked down upon by the higher levels of society, and he loves it.  He wants to feel tough, and that shocked look that someone gives him from across the street is so wonderfully exhilarating for his teenage ego.

Looking at this scenario from a "higher level of society" point of view, you may notice that dear young Bob's reasoning may be a little flawed.  I think it's safe to say that the average teacher would agree with this assessment.  That said, why would any self-respecting person who has gone through years of reading, studying, test-taking, and weaving through the complex bureaucratic process that it takes to become a teacher want to be anything like Bob?

And then we have college.  Professors are concerned that students haven't had any experience outside of the Utah bubble.  They take it upon themselves to become increasingly liberal in their teaching methods, as if daring us to object.  They refer to religious texts as "mythology" and tell us we have no free will.  They will go to any lengths to shock us and educate us on the "real world".

In this way, teachers actually are imposing their views on students--something that is extremely frowned-upon in education.

**In other news, I entered a collection of poetry into a Sigma Tau Delta writing conference and I got accepted!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I can only take the sound of my own voice for so long--shake things up and add a little something of your own to this wonderful corner of cyberspace! Comments/wisdom of others is greatly appreciated.